Lollipop Chainsaw, an action game from No More Heroes creator Suda51 and his company Grasshopper Manufacture, is about a cheerleader who fights zombies with the head of her boyfriend (who wisecracks the time in Suda51 fashion) at her hip and a chainsaw in her hand. The game is a light pop confection combining action and humor, and the for the soundtrack, sound director Akira Yamaoka combined licensed songs with an original rock-flavored score, while Jimmy Urine of the band Mindless Self Indulgence contributed boss themes. A 45 minute long soundtrack was released digitally and via Amazon's burned to order service.
About half of the soundtrack is dedicated to licensed music, and the first six songs are an eclectic mixture of styles. Most of these are played for irony, whether the music in question is light pop, ala vocal group The Chordettes' "Lollipop", or heavy metal, like Five Finger Death Punch's "The Way of the Fist" (the sole reason for the album's parental advisory label).
Some of the songs provide accompaniment to a specific level, like the building-climbing minigame and New Wave group The Human League's "Empire State Human" or Buckner and Garcia's Novelty hit "Pac-man Fever", which is played in a level similar to that famous game. Metal songs "Nemesis" by Arch Enemy and "Stop Reading, Start Doing Pushups" by D.R.U.G.S. round out the first half of the album.
Akira Yamaoka's half of the score traverses just as wide a variety of styles. The opener "Love for My Insane Lover" is an upbeat pop-punk track, reflecting the personality of the game's protagonist, Juliet. Being constructed around a single riff, it's a little on the repetitive side, but its energy makes it an enjoyable confection.
The Latin percussion used in "Zombie Guts" and "Zombeef Burger" makes for interesting contrast, but the 70s funk/fusion feel of "Mirrorball Madhouse", with its synth lead and backup chorus, stands out far more. Arguably the best track on this release is "Rainbow Zombie Fever!", a driving Latin fusion track with a trumpet solo in the middle.
The shifts of meter in "Zombie Tackle", a metal track predominantly in 6/8, set it apart from the more standard riffs of "Viking Zombies Sail on Lightning Seas". The final two tracks, "Bowel Purge" and "Scattering Guts", provide more of the competent but relatively unexceptional metal heard earlier.
The eclecticism in Lollipop Chainsaw's soundtrack complements the game's ironic and satirical bent perfectly, but as a result, this album release is a mish-mash of styles and genres that never coheres. Furthermore, neither the set of licensed songs nor the score is anywhere near complete, with many prominent pieces left out, not to mention all of the boss music. Finally, the sound quality is quite poor, with every track compressed far beyond reasonable levels. Separate CDs for the licensed music and the score should be released, and either one would be more enjoyable as an album than this half-hearted effort.